Honestly, someone asked me that once. Point blank. I didn’t know her. We were standing next to each other at a set of sinks in a public bathroom and she turned to me and asked, “So, like, are you anorexic?” I can’t remember exactly how I responded. I was rendered mostly speechless by the question, and so I think I just muttered, “no,” blushed loudly and got out of there as quickly as I could. She left the bathroom right after me, and as she met up with her friends, I remember them looking at me and giggling. Looking backwards, I have no idea what she meant by her comment: did she want tips on how to be a successful anorexic? Was she trying to feel better about herself by hating on an obviously geeky but enviably slim wallflower? Was it just another example of the meaningless viciousness of teenage girls? An expression of her own insecurity about her weight? Was she spurred on by my insecurity? Could she somehow sense it? And did she simply want to reinforce it? Or did she think she was enacting an intervention, there in the dingy mall bathroom?
So, like, are you anorexic? (From The Powerhouse Museum collection.)
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From the State Library of Queensland's archives.
I’ve been busy in February and when I get busy, I tend to watch embarrassing television, a feat made easier by my recent discovery of several non-virus-ridden (I hope) streaming sites. I’ve lately been working my way through the most recent season of America’s Next Top Model. It’s a show I used to guiltily watch when I had cable, but which I hadn’t really thought much about since then (a bunch of years ago now). After a particularly onerous day lately, an odd mental twinge had me craving one of their make-over episodes, and I intended to watch just that one, but these things are worse than a bag of Oreos when you’ve missed lunch, and now I find myself with only 5 contestants left, charging towards the season finale.
One of the front-runners early on in cycle 15 was a very tall (yes, even for a model) girl named Ann. Seriously, she’s 6’2” almost 6’3”, which is only a smidge shorter than my very tall and gangly younger brother and she probably weighs half as much as he does. She was the front runner because she could take uncannily good photos without seeming to try or even to be aware of what she was doing to make them work. Her aptitude (is it a skill?) in front of the camera at first obscured her almost obsessive shyness. But, as the episodes progressed, it soon became clear that this girl takes hiding behind her hair, and slouching into her ribcage to a new, almost-uncomfortable-to-watch level. She speaks to the camera during her monologues in a low monotone without seeming to realize she is swallowing her own voice. At every moment, Ann is on the verge of tears. And yet she remains to suffer through it because she takes such alluring photos they simply can’t let her go, it seems. I’m compelled by Ann, perhaps slightly obsessed with her, worrying over her chances of being knocked out of the competition, not because she takes a good photo, but because she’s so clearly floundering and she almost doesn’t seem to realize it. » Read the rest of this entry «